In the final days of October, Marathon Gold (TSX: MOZ; US-OTC: MGDPF) reported grab samples of up to 58.13 grams gold per tonne in a new area of quartz-tourmaline-pyrite (QTP) veining it has found in the Sprite zone, 1.5 km along strike from its nearly 1 million oz. Leprechaun gold deposit in west-central Newfoundland, about 57 km south of the mining town of Buchans.
The high-grade gold-bearing QTP veining at Sprite stretches over an area 1,200 metres long and 500 metres wide, and is similar to the veining that characterizes the Leprechaun deposit near the southwestern end of the company’s wholly owned Valentine Lake property, Marathon says.
Grab samples from the veins — ranging up to 30 cm wide and exposed along strike for more than 10 metres — returned high-grade gold. Initial channel sampling in one trench returned 2.01 grams gold over 7 metres, and 0.80 gram gold over 7.4 metres.
The latest discovery forms part of a 23 km long, highly prospective gold-bearing mineralized corridor along the Valentine Lake thrust fault in Newfoundland’s central mineral belt that also contains Marathon’s Victory deposit, 13 km along strike to the northeast, and the J. Frank zone, 500 metres southwest along strike from Leprechaun’s current resource boundary.
On Nov. 2 Marathon was named explorer of the year by the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum’s Newfoundland branch.
“We’re really expanding the project,” Phillip Walford, Marathon’s president and CEO, says in an interview. “We’ve got a 17 km corridor where we’re finding gold. The property is camp size, and it’s really opening up — just by prospecting. We’re finding an awful lot just on surface.”
Marathon acquired Leprechaun through its acquisition of Mountain Lake Resources in 2012.
“At Leprechaun we’re down 400 metres in the zone and it seems to be widening out at depth — the geologist’s dream — but our focus now is on the open-pit targets, where we can more economically develop resource ounces,” Walford says.
Leprechaun remains open at depth and along strike. Open-pit resources stand at 3.5 million tonnes grading 2.8 grams gold for 247,000 contained oz. gold in the measured category and 6.2 million tonnes grading 2.07 grams gold for 412,000 contained oz. gold in the indicated category. Inferred resources add 1.2 million tonnes grading 1.82 grams gold for 71,000 contained oz. gold.
Underground resources at Leprechaun total 108,000 tonnes of 4.83 grams gold for 17,000 contained oz. gold in the measured category and 764,000 tonnes of 4.05 grams gold for 100,000 oz. gold in the indicated category. Inferred resources add 349,000 tonnes at 6.13 grams gold for 69,000 oz. gold.
The open-pit resource was calculated using a 0.5-gram gold per tonne cut-off grade and a 2-gram gold cut-off grade for underground.
The Victory deposit is also open at depth and along strike. It has an open-pit resource at a 0.5-gram cut-off grade of 761,000 tonnes averaging 1.67 grams gold for 41,000 contained oz. gold in the indicated category and inferred resources of 199,000 tonnes of 1.47 grams gold for 9,000 contained oz. gold. Victory is also open at depth and along strike.
Walford explains that it took a while to figure out the Victory deposit because a lot of the drilling initially concentrated along the contact between the intrusive rocks and the sedimentary rocks.
As it turned out, however, the better mineralization was found 200 metres or more from the contact zone. “We didn’t really understand the geology at Victory in the beginning and drilled along contact, and didn’t get that far. But now we’re hitting mineralization.” He adds that Victory and the recently discovered Sprite zone are the two “hot targets for 2014.”
One of Valentine Lake’s advantages, Walford adds, is that it is accessible by a road that connects to the Trans-Canada Highway. And Newfoundland has plenty of skilled workers to staff the project.
“Newfoundland is a great jurisdiction to work in,” Walford says. “There’s a good attitude towards resource development, and people-wise, with one or two exceptions, everyone we have lives on the island. We’ve had no trouble getting qualified people from western Newfoundland.”
In addition to the Valentine Lake property, Marathon has a property south of Baie Verte and a larger property 50 km southwest of Valentine.
This year Marathon had a $4-million exploration budget.
Marathon closed at 19.5¢ per share within a 52-week range of 15¢ to 78¢. The junior has 60 million shares outstanding.
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